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January 12, 2017

In 2017, it's time to take action to support early literacy in DC

For Immediate Release

Contact: Karen Gardner, Executive Director, Reading Partners DC
(202) 780-8089,

Taking action to support early literacy in DC through Reading Partners in 2017!

(Washington, DC) January 12, 2017 — In the wake of a long, divisive year, investing in community engagement and striving to bridge cultural and class divides has renewed importance. Regardless of the diverse political views held across our country, one thing that nearly everyone agrees with is that we want to provide educational opportunity to all children so they can pursue their dreams with purpose. Learning to read proficiently in elementary school plays a crucial role in helping students achieve academic, professional, and life success, and Reading Partners is a place where communities can truly come together in service of that common objective.

It is critical that Reading Partners students are enrolled in the program in January in order to maximize the number of tutoring sessions they receive and put them on the best path to reading proficiency. Currently, there are over 100 students at 20 elementary schools waiting for tutors in DC.

“As we head into the new year under a new administration, I know many members of the DC community are eager to act. They are eager to be a part of change. They are eager to show meaningful support for people in our community who are regularly and systematically marginalized.” says Executive Director Karen Gardner. “Reading Partners provides a path for this by engaging volunteers as literacy tutors for students in DC who are behind grade-level in reading.”

How Reading Partners Works

Reading Partners is a proven national nonprofit that mobilizes community volunteers in DC to provide individualized reading support to students in under-resourced public elementary schools and equip them with the foundational skills they need to be able to read at grade level by fourth grade. Reading Partners volunteers are matched one-on-one with students in kindergarten through fourth grade who are reading anywhere from a few months to two and a half years below grade level. Volunteers utilize an easy-to-follow, individualized lesson plan each week, specific to their students’ needs in order to meet them at their level and help build both literacy skills and confidence. Tutors typically commit to one hour a week with the same student for the duration of the academic school year.

“When you volunteer, you get to learn more about the communities that you’re in and you care more about where you are. It’s so important to keep learning and really care about people,” says volunteer Starsky Cheng. “I think if you care about someone, you work harder to help that person.”

With only 14 percent of fourth graders from low-income families in Washington, DC reading at grade level, thousands of kids are counting on Reading Partners and community volunteers to be a steady presence for them as they gain one of the most critical skills needed to be our future leaders. Reading is the foundation for all future learning and Reading Partners tutors take action to help students make the all-important shift from learning to read to reading to learn.

To become a Reading Partner’s tutor or to learn more, please visit

About Reading Partners

Reading Partners empowers students to succeed in reading and in life by engaging community volunteers to provide one-on-one tutoring. The national nonprofit organization will provide proven, individualized literacy tutoring to more than 11,000 elementary school students in under-resourced schools across ten states and the District of Columbia in the 2016-17 school year. Visit, or connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, to learn more.

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